Cyclic vomiting syndrome in Taiwanese children

J Formos Med Assoc. 2011 Jan;110(1):14-8. doi: 10.1016/S0929-6646(11)60003-X.


Background/purpose: Cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS) is a periodic and Stereotypic pattern of intractable nausea or vomiting episodes, which has been well-recognized in previous decades, although the actual pathogenesis is still unclear. Recurrent, discrete, but self-limited symptoms of nausea and vomiting bother children, and increase the cost of family and health care. This report described the clinical features of patients who fulfill the diagnostic criteria for CVS.

Methods: This was a retrospective study that reviewed the medical records of children with CVS in our department from 1992 to 2008. The clinical features and results of long-term follow-up of these children were analyzed.

Results: Twenty-four patients (16 boys and 8 girls) were enrolled in this study. The mean age of onset was 6.8 ± 3.3 years (2.2-15.4 years), and the mean interval from onset to proper diagnosis was 2.1 ± 2.2 years. Comparing initial presentation and latest condition, the duration of attack was 4.1 ± 2.2 days and 0.8 ± 1.4 days, respectively, and the admission/emergency department visit dropped from 2.3 ± 2.0 to 0.6 ± 1.1 times per year. Twenty-three of 24 patients had been treated with amitriptyline, cyproheptadine, or propranolol. Nine patients (38%) had no symptoms in the past 12 months.

Conclusion: The diagnosis of CVS must be based on the detailed history of the clinical manifestations of vomiting pattern, complete symptom-free intervals between the attacks, and absence of neurological, gastrointestinal, or metabolic abnormalities. Most of our patients improve when they grow up, but prompt diagnosis and early intervention may improve quality of life.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Age of Onset
  • Amitriptyline / therapeutic use
  • Asians
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cyproheptadine / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Migraine Disorders / complications
  • Nausea / complications
  • Propranolol / therapeutic use
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Taiwan
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vomiting* / diagnosis
  • Vomiting* / drug therapy
  • Vomiting* / etiology


  • Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Amitriptyline
  • Cyproheptadine
  • Propranolol

Supplementary concepts

  • Familial cyclic vomiting syndrome